That was a close one.
Donald Trump’s press office came dangerously close to putting Trump in front of reporters during a disastrous weekend, but averted that catastrophe at the last second.
But after declaring a “lunch lid” following his trip back from the golf course Sunday, meaning that Trump would not be traveling again, White House reporters were abruptly mobilized for a trip back to Mar-a-Lago (pool reports via email from The White House):
Date: January 14, 2018 at 2:48:41 PM EST
Subject: Print Travel Pool #6
Despite lid, pool vans abruptly turned around at hotel. Pool vans rolling. Destination TBD.
Date: January 14, 2018 at 2:50:29 PM EST
Subject: Print Travel Pool #7 (headed to Mar-a-Lago)
Pool advised that we are headed back to Mar-a-Lago. Next movement TBD.
But after the press pool had been picked up and driven around for awhile, their return to Mar-a-Lago was just as abruptly cancelled:
Date: January 14, 2018 at 2:56:47 PM EST
Subject: Print Travel Pool #8 (plan change)
The wranglers cancelled a planned return to Mar-a-Lago. After brief drive around West Palm Beach, pool vans returned to hotel.
Lid remains in effect.
Fuller explication from White House coming shortly.
About an hour later, that explanation came. Trump had apparently invited a handful of his worshippers onto the grounds, and someone thought it would make a good photo op:
Date: January 14, 2018 at 3:57:38 PM EST
Subject: Print Travel Pool #9 (explanation)
The White House provided the following explanation for the confusion about the pool’s destination following the president’s return to Mar-a-Lago from Trump International Golf Course:
There was a miscommunication in where the pool was supposed be; the President invited bystanders from the motorcade route to Mar-a-Lago to thank them for their continued support. Someone thought it was supposed to be a pool event, but it was meant to be a quick private thank you.
That’s the inconvenient thing about a free press. If you invite them to your propaganda parties, they still get to ask questions, which is usually not a good look for Trump.